Happy Fourth of July folks! You’d think comic book publishers would put less remarkable books on the shelves considering most folks will be barbecuing and hitting the beach, but that’s not the case this week. A lot of interesting #1 issues, some important books in regards to story with Swamp Thing and Animal Man as well as the next issue in the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline. Let’s see what are top choices are to fit into a 10 dollar budget.
Dial H #3 (DC Comics)
After a slightly sloppy and wonky second issue, writer China Mieville really blows up the expectations of this book. We not only get a sweet backstory on why phones appear to have the super hero giving ability, but we get a backstory on the tentacled lizard man who’s after our hero. The fact that this backstory involves Alexander Graham Bell and the reason why so many inventors were coming up with telephone technology is a cool one.
Who is that bald headed creeper in the background?!
Mieville has gotten away from the inherent problem with this series in this issue by making the phone portable. It’s a smart move considering that was the only thing really holding back the concept in this book.
Oh no! Ovary power!
This story has gone from silly yet interesting premise to down right fascinating science fiction. Who is the man tinkering with inventors over the last 200 years? Why does he want this superhero creating phone finished? When will our hero actually become a less silly hero? ALl these questions are driving this book forward and I’m loving it.
Budget: $10.00-$2.99 = $7.01
Joe Hill’s The Cape: 1969 #1 (IDW)
Joe Hill’s The Cape was a nice stab at what it would be like if a crazy person was able to get ahold of a superpowered cape. It was short and mostly to the point. It wasn’t necessarily a masterpiece, but it did its job. This book is a prequel to that story, although you wouldn’t know it if you cracked this open and started reading.
Some of the best panels of Vietnam I’ve ever seen.
This is only a 4 issue miniseries so it’s a tad surprising the Cape in the title doesn’t make an appearance. What you do get though is very well paced war daram in the form of a platoon whose chopper goes down.
Get to dah choppah!
The art is brutal and hyper realistic. Instead of a bit of blood squirting from a bullet wood you get full gushing.
You have to respect a book when it’s paced this well, but I can’t help but finish reading this and think, “so what’s the point?” My interest was peaked due to the quality of the war stuff, but why is this book a prequel to the Cape? I’m interested, but this book could easily be skipped for the next issue when we finally get some Cape action.
Budget: $7.01 – $0.00 = $7.01
Avengers vs. X-Men #7 (Marvel Comics)
”No more Avengers.” Cyclops says, which you have to admit is a pretty dramatic reference to House of M made all the more intriguing now that Scarlet Witch is back. Me thinks Marvel is trying to pigeonhole her as an Avenger leaning character for the future books.
If you’re a hunter you’re going to love this book! Guaranteed not guarenteed!
This issue boils down to a few choice moments. The Avengers come up with a plan to take care of the Phoenix Five with Scarlet Witch, Tony Stark gets a bit closer to his Phoenix solution and Namor clearly has a rage hard on. Little moments between characters, like Emma kissing Namor and Panther bitch slapping Tony are nice, but at the end of the issue it doesn’t feel like much has happened.
Be afraid of the pink cones of death!
A few things stick out as dumb. For one, Dr. Strange uses the “Enchantments of Ikonn” to fool the Phoenix Five into thinking there is more than one Scarlet Witch. Didn’t the X-Men use this trick back in issue #2? Two…Hope is drawn as if she’s 8 years old. Isn’t she more like 14?
Black Panther is a real badass.
The action definitely works though and at the end of the day that’s what this book is all about. It’s also fun to see the Phoenix Five losing a grip on their humanity and their ability to hold their tempers. As far as the slow boil to the story things are moving forward. Just a bit too slowly, but then that’s why there are 12 issues to this series and not 6. A good issue, but not good enough to make our budget.
Budget: $7.01-$0.00 = $7.01
Sixteen comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Rage-Namor will see to them soon enough!
After a great first issue Mind MGMT #2 delivers nearly as much fun. There isn’t much revealed as far as the story, but the action is good. I’d have liked better booster stories too, but overall I like where this book is going. The painting is again top notch. Just doesn’t get us over the hump enough to make the budget.
Creator-Owned Heroes #2 once again doesn’t deliver a whole lot in each story. Makes you wish you had a full issue of each story rather than a piece because you never feel quite fulfilled by the end of the book. The Paul Pope interview is good, with some good “how to break into comics” tips as well, but again…for an magazine there isn’t enough here.
Wtf is going on in The Infernal Man-Thing #1? Somehow the Man-Thing is dying due to magical cartoons only he can see? There’s a dude driving around with a tree woman in the passenger seat who’s nuts because he lost his TV writing job. The art is clean and suits the premise…but there isn’t anything here that warrants interest. Unless you’re nuts.
Action Comics #11 introduces us to Fireman-Supes… because he decided to kill off Clark. There’s a nice moment between Batman and Superman (as well as Batman asking him why he didn’t spend all his money to end world hunger rather than build a stupid space station) but once again I don’t feel like this book adequately delves into Superman’s mind. Morrison seems to be tinkering with details but never giving us character development. Blame it on him being an alien I guess?
Comics using the irrational hero who’s trying to do the right thing even though he’s not using his brain need to be stopped. Amazing Spider-Man #689 pits Spidey versus Morbius…but Morbius was set up! There’s some intriguing Kurt Connors/Lizard stuff going on, but it’s a frustrating thing to see Spidey act like a lunatic when only issues ago he was inventing amazing things.
I’m very close to dropping this book. Deadpool #57 is really only good for one joke. Instead of Pym Particles he thinks Taskmaster meant ‘Pimp Article.’ Which doesn’t even make sense. The art is pretty groovy this issue, but it’s all just a silly circular pointless comic. If it doesn’t bring the laughs there’s really no point in reading this series.
Horror comics don’t appear very often, especially in the Summer, so I really wanted to like Evil Tree #2. There’s a semi-interesting explanation behind what made the Evil Tree so evil, but more sad than horrific. A decent enough book that leaves a lot to be desired.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe appears to be attempting to flesh out the cartoon with our hero, named Adam, who will soon discover his He-Man ability. The art is detailed enough to get people to turn the pages, but as far as first issues go I have no care for the main character or any idea what is going on. Chock it up to “The Heroes Journey” since Adam is wandering around to find his place in the world, but I’d like a bit more please.
Do we really need another book about detectives who chase the yetti, aliens and the like? It’s even using the element of the TV show to tie in more same old same old. Hoax Hunters falls rather flat on old tropes.
The plot thickens in Thief of Thieves #6…again. If you want to charge me 3 bucks for half a story then expect me to read the book in the trade format. You get to the end of this book on a consistent basis and think, “this book should be a dollar cheaper.” Some interesting developments here, although slightly easy to see coming.
The Phoenix Five love to posture. Uncanny X-Men #15 see’s them stand around and get frustrated with Sinister. These guys are supposed to be smarter than any human, yet fall right into his trap? Seems a bit odd to me. Also Cyclops is from Anchorage, Alaska? Since when?
Great art and developments in Swamp Thing #11. Finally we’re getting to see Swamp Thing kick some ass like a superhero. I like what’s going on here, but it can’t quite make the cut since there are a few books a tad better.
After a strong first issue, Vampirella: Red Room #2 gets a little sloppy in the art department, but also feels like it’s more preoccupied with getting the characters in a new setting than actually telling a story.
I haven’t been following this book but World’s Finest #3 is easy enough to follow. So easy I wasn’t sure what the point was. I guess Power Girl and Huntress are buds, so that’s cool, but what is the story?
Invincible Iron Man #520 is a lot like Thief of Thieves because the story progresses so slowly. This might go down as Larroca’s best work and it’s great to have the Mandarin back. A good purchase with more bucks.
Earth 2 #3 is very good with some great pacing and an introduction to the villain of this first story arc. Green Lantern’s weapon of choice, the ring he was going to give his lover, is also a strong point. A safe purchase any other week.
Oh man he’s glistening with rage.
Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 2 #12 (Marvel Comics)
Miles finally takes on his uncle… and it doesn’t look good.
Dig the lines!
For an action starved series this issue delivers lots of fighting. It’s also neat to see Miles starting to embrace his abilities. And boy is his uncle a dillweed.
Spidey go boom.
Bendis is building this up so well I can’t help but love it, even though there isn’t a lot going on. While other comics have little story this one feels deeper due to the character development. A single panel of Miles can mean more than an entire page in other books.
I’m a late adopter of the Miles Morales Spider-Man but I can’t get enough. Should be fun to see what Marvel NOW! does. Maybe he’ll become part of the 616.
Budget: $7.01- $3.99 = $3.02
Wolverine #310 (Marvel Comics)
So Jeff Loeb killed off Sabertooth a few years back and told everyone it was the real deal. Guess what. It’s not. Instead Sabertooth is…or was…or is currently, a clone. Doesn’t Marvel learn from their mistakes? Sure Sabertooth isn’t as popular as Spider-Man, but any clone saga is a bad clone saga.
Wolvie should have called a flyer hero. Why destroy the Empire State building with his claws?
Cloak and Dagger are brought in because he offers a clean way to teleport. Oh and Romulus broke out of the cloak and wants vengeance. Really this is a soap opera where new faces are revealed, old villains return and Wolverine stupidly falls into more than one trap.
At least Simone Bianchi can do no wrong.
The art is spectacular, but the story is really asking a lot from fans considering it’s 4 bucks to read about a retcon that will eventually be explainable in 1 sentence.
Budget: $3.02-$0.00 = $3.02
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1 (DC Comics)
If curiosity doesn’t tempt you to open this book the art by Jae Lee will. Anyone familiar with his work on the Dark Tower comics can tell you it’s got the perfect blend of hyper-realistic yet dreamlike qualities that imbue a very unique sense to the work.
The book follows Ozymandias’ childhood right up to when he becomes a hero. It’s a great one shot issue made even better from the incredibly beautiful full page layouts.
It’s as if each page is a tablet carved for Ozymandias. I’m not sure if that was the point, but it works very well as the format in which he would narrate his backstory.
Since Ozymandias is the narrator one could conclude it’s a story being told by one you cannot trust, although that’d defeat the purpose of this series to begin with. This might also be why the character comes off as great rather than arrogant, which is how he came off in the original Watchmen series.
Of all the Before Watchmen books this is the best so far. The art is beautiful and the story interesting. He also appears to be the most fascinating character to boot. A good purchase if you have the dough, but a tad steep at $3.99 for ComiX Weely.
Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02
Lookouts #1: May We Die In the Forest (Cryptozoic Entertainment)
If you like fantasy you’ll probably like this book. If you liked Bone you’ll really like this book. If you like fun adventures with a cast of characters that tickle the funny bone and make you root for them, yes you’ll like this book.
A troop of boy scout like characters are out to get their badges and this time they need to outwit a Sphinx to get a strategy badge. It just so happens to get a badge in this troop you ahve to risk your life.
Who doesn’t love trolls.
Ultimately this is an introduction issue, but thankfully it’s only 99 cents. This not only is a great deal, but a great service from the publishers. DC and Marvel typically, even with intro issues such as this, charge at least $1.99.
This image has everything from creepy things to cool things. I like.
The issue is also printed like an ancient book, with a front and back cover as well as miscellaneous pages of fantasy for your enjoyment. Really worth a look. You can purchase the book at Comixology here.
Budget: $3.02 – $0.99 = $2.03
Animal Man #11 (DC Comics)
That’s right folks, for once in this column I’ve chosen Animal Man over Swamp Thing. This is due to some sweet character building, some awesome art and the emergence of the Animal Man we all know and love. The one who can literally change into animals!
If every level up was this painful nobody would be playing WoW.
Animal Man turns into 12 different animals in this single issue. It’s pretty sweet, especially considering he’s been limp in the power department the first 11 issues. Finally he’s being released into the a much more super…hero.
Ape power for the win.
We also get a cool evolution of his abilities over the course of two pages. It’s a nice element, especially considering pages are so scarce these days, and it works quite well to establish his journey from normal man to shapeshifting hero.
The rhino look was so 1990’s.
Unfortunately this book is $2.99. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say pay the extra 96 cents and get this book. It’s well worth it.
Budget: $2.03 – $2.99 = $-.96
What a week. Most likely most folks will be picking up these books Thursday since a lot of comic shops are closed. Be sure to bring extra bucks because it was a great week for comics.